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message 1: by Jason (last edited Dec 11, 2018 09:10PM) (new)

Jason Oliver | 2088 comments We had an interesting conversation topic come up on the Ender's Game thread.

Does learning about an author's personal views effect your view of their works? Are you effected differently having already read and enjoyed their works versus knowing the authors view before reading their works? Should an author be held to today's standards of what is acceptable or should they be held to the standards of the time they lived? Do you feel similar for other artistic professions such as movie stars, singers, poets, dancers, ice skaters and others?

(Do not feel obligated to answer each question. These are just questions to consider to create conversation)


message 2: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments For me it definitely comes in to it. I'm not going to spend time and money on a book written by someone who has views that are opposed to mine. If a KKK member wrote the best novel in the universe, I wouldn't read it.

I don't see it as political correctness either. It is common decency. I feel as though the term political correctness is thrown around by people who want to make statements that are xenophobic, racist, homophobic etc.


message 3: by Jason (last edited Dec 11, 2018 08:49PM) (new)

Jason Oliver | 2088 comments Susie, I didnt mean political correctness as a negative term. Today's standards of political correctness is different than in past and most likely different than the future.


message 4: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments Jason wrote: "Susie, I didnt mean political correctness as a negative term. Today's standards of political correctness is different than in past and most likely different than the future."

I don't know why I went off on that tangent to be honest! That term is something I have a bee in my bonnet about. I think I spend too much time on Facebook reading comments that get me angry. Shame! You know the kind, 'Political correctness gone mad!' and such. I suppose that you mean today's standards of what is acceptable and what is not? Sorry if I was abrupt. I didn't mean to be.


message 5: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2088 comments Susie wrote: "Jason wrote: "Susie, I didnt mean political correctness as a negative term. Today's standards of political correctness is different than in past and most likely different than the future."

I don't..."


No problem and I wasn't offended. I know what you mean though. "Political correctness" has such as negative connotation now I shouldn't have used it. I will edit my original post.


message 6: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments It might lead to an interesting discussion...


message 7: by Susie (new)

Susie | 4488 comments p.s. It is so nice to have you back posing your discussion questions. You have been missed!


message 8: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2088 comments Susie wrote: "p.s. It is so nice to have you back posing your discussion questions. You have been missed!"

Thank-you. I am glad to be back. I have missed you all.


message 9: by Joy D (new)

Joy D | 4191 comments I am not sure how to hold an author that wrote something ages ago responsible for meeting today's standards since there's no way they could tell the future. I think we can make a judgment on whether we want to buy it or not. I am not a fan of censorship


message 10: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9068 comments I wrote on the Ender's Game thread. But I think the most important piece is, that of course we write from our lenses. From the time and culture and experience and belief set from which we live. That subjective bias is inherent always. Everyone is going to have a different line for what they think is moral and ethical and evolved and fair and just, and we shouldn't be holding anyone's experience to anyone else's standards, even if we don't like it. I have strong personal views that others don't necessarily share, and I feel that others have the right to hold their views, and/or write about their experience whether I like it or not. There are plenty of points of view that we can read and not necessarily ascribe to. I am reminded of Jason reading Mein Kampf last year, or earlier this year, and wondering about a similar thought of the impact and reception. Sometimes we might be curious about a person's point of view that is totally different from our own, that might even be alien. That's how we learn and expand ourselves. Otherwise we have no way of understanding, or checking our own certainties. I am not suggesting that we will adopt things that are obviously abhorrent to us. It is though about trying to understand where such a point of view emerges from, even if it feels alien to your own. We are constantly doing this with everything we read. Its inherent of every word and experience we are exposed to. We are constantly learning about things, or practices, that do not match our own culture, beliefs, or sensibilities.

I also think a person can choose to separate a good story from an authors political stance or views. For instance, my problem with Ender's Game is not the authors views, which I know nothing about. It was the pain of how children were treated that I couldn't abide or live with. And of course we make choices about what not to read, and about what we think about what we read.

About singers or athletes or other celebrated figures telling us how to vote, or what to think - I'm actually not sure about this, and I think its rather dicey. I did mention in the other thread, that i wondered about the difference between listening on how to vote from the Pope, versus Oprah, versus Barbara Streisand, Tom Brady, Robert Kraft, Kurt Shilling, or Scott Baio, or Alyssa Milano. Truth is, its always a great idea when the person speaking agrees with you. Less a great idea when they don't. I appreciated that the Bush Family, Mitt Romney and others spoke out in our last presidential election against their own party. And certainly I appreciate that now. But the question of influence is interesting, and unintwinable. All the networks carry a bias, so does every reporter, writer, journalist. So does a singer, author, writer... No one's point of view should be subdued - that's how learning and growth and new ideas, including revolution moves forward. I think we have to be intelligent and insightful enough to figure what voices we want to listen to, and for that, we have to be exposed to a range of experiences and ideas. I mean, that's college, right? And life. I certainly don't think any topic is easy.

I have heard others say they wouldn't want to read or enjoy Gone With the Wind, because of how blacks were treated at the time. I have also heard the same about women, Jews, slaves. Well that cuts out a lot of history. I would like to understand not just how many people lived a long time ago, but to understand more about how people live differently today. About culture and belief - and that takes our stretching ourselves, and sometimes swallowing a little bit. And always, there are choices simply not to go somewhere you don't want to. And as we always say, reading should be a pleasure, not a chore.

I don't have all the answers, perhaps I don't have any. But I think we have to be willing to see texture and context in things we might not initially understand. Yes, there are things we could probably toss out of hand outright, and I'd probably agree with you. But sometimes there is even something to understand in things you think you wouldn't. Anyway, I fear sounding supercilious - and I'm not even sure that's the right word. I'm just trying to figure it out with the rest of us. And I know we all agree on this, but you just have to be deeply respectful when you are learning about something you don't know anything about that is deeply personal to another. Just my thoughts tonight. Looking forward to hearing how others answer the question.


message 11: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6509 comments I could never be a Ted Nugent Fan.

Given all that. I think I would have to say that I am indeed influenced by the author's stance.


message 12: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2088 comments Here is a continuing thought from the original question.

Do you think authors today, mainstream authors that are within the norm of what is acceptable in today's society might be censored or disregard in the distant future as culture, fears, and acceptability changes. How will our literature be viewed by the future. Its an impossible question to answer, but something I think about.


message 13: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2088 comments I also realize that nonfiction political and social works are tied to the author and their personal views. What about fiction authors. Roald Dahl. Does the fact that he was racist diminish the stories he wrote. What about the reports that his stories were not kid friendly and his editor made them so, or the theory that his stories point to child molesting themes? Does John Grisham's fight against the death penalty or his stance that watching underage pornography is not the same as child molestation and therefore should have a lesser penalty, affect your view of his legal thrillers. (Note: Grisham does not condone either) Or Dan Brown leaning heavily toward atheism. Or Charles Dickens for being very religious.

I guess the focus is more on the authors views affecting his unrelated (relatively so) works.


message 14: by KateNZ (new)

KateNZ | 2617 comments I think I *am* affected by whether an author supports or stands for something that I find beyond the pale. Enough to put me off altogether in some cases. For example I wouldn’t care if Milo Yiannopoulos wrote the most brilliant novel ever - I would not be prepared to give the nasty little misogynistic troll any of my attention or money. (I know, I know - why don’t I say what I really think, lol 😃)

But I sometimes wonder whether boycotting someone’s work is a reasonable response. I certainly don’t believe in only reading things that support my own world view. Living in an echo chamber isn’t healthy.

Judging things in their own context is one factor. For instance there’s never been any excuse for racism, but it seems worse with modern authors than authors of previous generations. Kind of a ‘we should know better now’ approach I think. With older works, I still find it jarring and unacceptable but can view the book more objectively as a product of its time. That can have its own interest as well - good grief, people really thought like that back then, how horrible. Highly gendered assumptions are another example - I can often just roll my eyes and accept that people’s attitudes back then were a pain. How many authors of a few decades ago would truly pass muster if we looked at them too closely?

Relevance of views to the book itself is another factor. If the book is an expression of views I find troubling, then it’s harder to manage unless I can go into my objective shell. If it’s a lovely fantasy novel but the author happens to have been awful in real life, I am probably less inclined to avoid the book. Especially if the author is dead or otherwise isn’t going to be enriched by my access to the book.

The type of awfulness is important too. If the author is a child abuser or rapist, I confess I might indulge in ritual arson of their collected works.


message 15: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2088 comments I have not verified everything in this list, but here is a list of authors that this list call "bad people" Virginia Wolf, JD Salinger, TS Elliot, Orson Scott Card, and Dr. Seuss make the list.
https://www.ranker.com/list/writers-a...


message 16: by KateNZ (new)

KateNZ | 2617 comments Wow that is a varied list. Charles Dickens’ adultery, or Enid Blyton being a bad mother is hardly in the same league as Golding’s attempted rape. Ann Perry was a juvenile criminal but is completely rehabilitated - so I don’t have a problem with her at all (the article is wrong too - it wasn’t her mother who was murdered, it was Pauline Parker’s).

And I haven’t burned Lord of the Flies or Catcher in the Rye on the barbecue yet. So maybe I’m better at separating the person from the book than I thought I was!


message 17: by Joy D (last edited Dec 12, 2018 12:51AM) (new)

Joy D | 4191 comments I have to admit I don't always know what the author's personal views are before reading a book. I tend to view books on their individual merit. I don't thoroughly research and vet the author's background before deciding to read something.

Regarding your question, Jason, I hope censorship would not take hold any time in the future with respect to today's authors. Yes, things will be different, but just as I don't think we should be banning Huckleberry Finn or Gone with the Wind (or a host of other books), I would hope future readers will not want to censor the books written today, at least not if they want to understand the culture of the past.


message 18: by Jess (new)

Jess Penhallow | 53 comments Another thing to consider is that many of the classics are in the public domain so by reading them you are not supporting the author financially. I'm okay with that. It's different for people who are still living.


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I do not look at an author's personal view before I read a book. I truly view books based on their merit. There have been many times where after reading a book, that I may run across some words the author has spoken and I raise my eyebrows a little.
Jason, I read the link you posted and I have to say once again I raised my eyebrows a few times. My kids loved Dr. Suess and I have to say I am disappointed. I am going to dig a little further into that one. Do I judge past authors to today's standards? Often I do not. It was a different time but that does not mean I am still not disappointed. It still sickens me at the racism and the anti-Semitic writings. Even though it was in the past, I am shocked at the inhumanity of it all. As a Jewish woman, I am greatly offended by the anti-Semites on that list. I do not want to see the works banned. But will I choose to read certain authors? I don't really know. Most of those authors I did not know about.
That being said modern-day authors can disappoint me at times. We are now in the age of social media where anything can be said and way too many pics posted. I hate politics, which I have spoken more than once on here. I love history, have studied history, and I know that hatefulness, lies, and all else have been involved since the beginning. But we have entered a new level of hatefulness and lies in the last twenty years in America in regards to politics and that's why I no longer read about it. I had to really think long and hard about reading Becoming, by Michelle Obama because I despise politics so much. So thankful I read it. Wonderful book. Moving on... One example I will give is an author I follow on Instagram. This author posted a selfie standing by a cut out of the First Lady and said some disparaging words regarding plastic surgery. I remember making an audible sound and saying aloud, "I am so glad I taught my children not to be mean." I have this author's book on the bookshelf and I will still read it because I want to. Regardless of this author's obvious hateful attitude and words she has used more than once. And no, I am not affiliating myself with any political party. This is only about hate and words thrown around, which seems to be a disease that has afflicted far too many people, regardless of political choice. Now, if this same author decided to throw around some words that were far worse, such as certain groups deserve to die or ....(you can fill in the blanks) I would probably choose not to read her book. But I typically know little about an author before I even read a book.
I really rambled so I am sorry. I may need some more coffee.:)


message 20: by Joi (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3830 comments Glad you posted this for more to see over here, Jason. I also was in the Ender's Game discussion.

I think this is a subject that has quite a bit of double standard. It's "OK" to read Mein Kampf" to understand or learn, or for educational purposes- but it's "NOT OK" to read Go Set a Watchman because of it's inherit racism? Just two random examples.

Why is it "OK" to read Tom Sawyer- because it is a classic? Because it also has some deep seeded racism. But it came out "during it's time" versus Go Set a Watchman, which came out recently.

This may sound naive, but with the topic personally, I'm generally in the "ignorance is bliss" category. If I don't know about the author's unsavory life/thoughts/beliefs, I won't be able to filter my views of their works through that lens (using Amy's metaphor). I don't normally do research on authors prior to reading a book-and I think this helps. Ender's Game was a specific example that I researched the author after hearing some of his readings on the audiobook after the book ended.

Generally if I know ahead of time about an author's beliefs that I do agree in (or any celebrity) that definitely changes the game for me. However, this is all subjective to if I believe the same things we did. I really liked what Amy said about if we AGREE with the person's beliefs, we applaud it. If we DON'T- then we take offense. Everything is subjective, and this is probably part of the double standard. I ditched Kanye's music when he came out supporting what he has (And I used to be a pretty BIG fan). However, I supported Taylor Swift when she urged her fans to vote. Albeit-these are two different things but still- one I supported, one I didn't, and this changes how I see these two celebrities.

#endrant


message 21: by Theresa (last edited Dec 12, 2018 03:20PM) (new)

Theresa | 7822 comments This is a very interesting discussion and I think skirts around a general discussion of censorship. It's also extremely timely for any number of reasons.

As for me, I am pretty much someone who takes the book separate from the author's ideologies and beliefs. I do not get offended all that easily, which I attribute to a very expensive fancy liberal arts education and a career as a cynical New York lawyer. Lawyers, after all, are trained to argue from all sides, to evaluate from all sides, and as I said after getting my JD, 'after law school, I don't even read a newspaper article the same way any more.' In order to develop true critical thinking, don't you need to read broadly, not just those things that meet your own ideology or standards, but all?

But there are exceptions: After learning about Marion Zimmer Bradley's acceptance of and ignoring her husband's incest with her children, I just cannot bring myself to read the copy of The Mists of Avalon I had picked up to finally read just before I learned that tidbit. Just can't do it.

And I can no longer read Tom Clancy because I learned a bit too much about his political views, which are totally opposite mine, and they are now just too prominent in his books for me to find his stories entertaining any longer.

Yet, books like Gone with the Wind and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn I can still read in the context of the times they were written and what the author was attempting to portray. Or any Ann Perry, whom a friend of mine refuses to read because based on interviews seen, she claims that Perry has not one iota of remorse over what she did.

This spreads into other arts as well. The last time John Adams' The Death of Klinghoffer was performed at the Met Opera, many Jewish organizations and individuals organized boycotts and protests during the performances, and called for rescinding of public financial support to the opera company, claiming that the opera glorified the actions of the pirates by presenting much of the opera from the pirates' POV. I had a number of conversations with friends who participated in the boycotts, many of whom have ceased attending the Met at all as a result of its decision to perform the opera, and they insisted, without ever actually having seen the opera, read the libretto, or listened to it, that it was so anti-semitic for this reason alone, it should not be allowed to be performed and the Met needs to be punished for performing it.

I personally think the musical Carousel is offensive and does not need to be performed as often as it is - it's about an abusive demeaning relationship, and while the music is gorgeous, I find little in the story to redeem it, and given the accolades it constantly receives, the offensiveness of the material is being glossed over. But I have at least seen the musical ... and just choose not to see it again. Ever. Although I have listened to the music from time to time.

In the end, I think it is context that makes the decision for me in most cases. Mark Twain did not set out to glorify racism, but in fact to shed light on its existence. We can thus learn from reading his work. Seeing The Death of Klinghoffer gives food for thought and discussion leading hopefully to change in the future rather than condoning the pirate's actions.

I in truth believe in no restriction or banning of the written word, and that to do so we push closer and closer to censorship. Far better to read and discuss, learn to discern and be critical.


message 22: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7822 comments KateNZ wrote: "And I haven’t burned Lord of the Flies or Catcher in the Rye on the barbecue yet. So maybe I’m better at separating the person from the book than I thought I was!."

Well if you ever get around to burning Catcher in the Rye, I'll toss my copy onto the flames with yours! Got I hated that book!


message 23: by Cora (new)

Cora (corareading) | 1422 comments Theresa wrote: "This is a very interesting discussion and I think skirts around a general discussion of censorship. It's also extremely timely for any number of reasons.

As for me, I am pretty much someone who t..."


Theresa - I am the same way with Mists of Avalon. I got it right before I found out about Marion Zimmer Bradley and I really can not bring myself to read it now. Usually, I can separate an author from their works, but this one is a glaring exception.


message 24: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9068 comments Extremely well put Theresa! I am appreciating everything you are bring to our group since you joined.


message 25: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments I don‘t think it has to do with censorship, everyone has a write to publish their thoughts so long as it is not illegal. And from what I can see, no one suggested banning people with a certain viewpoint from writing.

However, I choose to support certain people/messages through my dedication of money to that product. And that is totally basic economics. I tend to be more aware of it if the book actually reflects the author’s viewpoints as opposed to something the author does in their private life, but if I become aware of their private life decisions that I do not agree with then I can express my disagreement through withholding of supporting from their product.

On the flip side, I tend to be sure to purchase books from people whose viewpoint I like or agree with, or people who I just like in their personal life. Again, that is my right in a market driven economy.

I will add that aside from a few authors, I am not really aware of their personal beliefs. I don’t normally dig into their background, so it has to be something pretty obvious and mainstream.

And isn’t this what we do in all aspects of our lives to some degree? Why should books and authors be different? We don’t like a businesses employment practices so we do not buy their product. We like that fair trade products help people in other countries so we seek those out. We look for clothing that isn’t treated with chemicals or we purchase things that are locally made to support our communities.

I do not think that writing and publishing is on some pedestal that makes it beyond the reach of us supporting certain messages or viewpoints with our strongest weapon we have. Our money.


message 26: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7822 comments Amy wrote: "Extremely well put Theresa! I am appreciating everything you are bring to our group since you joined."

Thanks! I am really enjoying the level of discussions here.


message 27: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8827 comments I think I usually choose based on the book, but I usually don't know the author's viewpoint, or background, or personal life beforehand.

Now... I do have a book by Bill Cosby lying around that I've been meaning to read for years. I still want to read it, but I guess - with social media and "advertising" what I'm reading - I'm more worried about how that will reflect on me!!! Especially if I end up enjoying it! Sigh...


message 28: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7822 comments Nicole R wrote: "I don‘t think it has to do with censorship, everyone has a write to publish their thoughts so long as it is not illegal. And from what I can see, no one suggested banning people with a certain view..."


Although you can still read those books without cost by borrowing from a library.


message 29: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments Yeah, I do not check them out from the library either. Libraries collect stats and base future purchasing decisions on them, and I do not want to be included in those counts. It is another way to have my purchase power considered.


message 30: by annapi (last edited Dec 12, 2018 08:57PM) (new)

annapi | 5117 comments Jason wrote: "I have not verified everything in this list, but here is a list of authors that this list call "bad people" Virginia Wolf, JD Salinger, TS Elliot, Orson Scott Card, and Dr. Seuss make the list.
ht..."


I did not read the entire article, but they have the facts wrong on at least one on that list. They say Anne Perry murdered her mother. Well, actually, she aided and abetted in the murder, and it was her friend's mother, not her own mother. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parker%...

I had already been a fan of Anne Perry before I found out about this, and though disconcerting, it has not affected my enjoyment of her work. She was a teenager when her friend and she committed the murder; they both served their sentences (5 years) and she became a writer afterwards. I met her at a signing before I knew of this, and she was very nice.

And I just now noticed KateNZ posted about this also, sorry for the duplication!


message 31: by annapi (last edited Dec 12, 2018 09:12PM) (new)

annapi | 5117 comments Theresa wrote: "After learning about Marion Zimmer Bradley's acceptance of and ignoring her husband's incest with her children, I just cannot bring myself to read the copy of The Mists of Avalon I had picked up to finally read just before I learned that tidbit. Just can't do it...."

I pretty much read my fill of MZB before I found out about this, and though I enjoyed her work I was never fanatic about it, so it was easy for me to just not pick up another of her books.

Another case was that bratty tantrum of Victoria Laurie after a bad review; the link to the cached version is in this article: https://dearauthor.com/features/lette...

I had enjoyed her first few "Psychic Eye" books, but as the series wore on it deteriorated, and her other series was pure crap, so even before she blew up I had abandoned her already. Her tantrum only solidified my resolve to never read another of her books.

But I don't hold with censorship; let books and authors stand on their own merits. I will read what I want to read for my own reasons, and I think everyone should be allowed to do so as well. However, that does leave me free to advocate for or against an author or work for whatever reason as well!


message 32: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 8098 comments I have been reading Mists of Avalon for a few months now-I am just trying yo block out what I found out about her-I did not pay for the books I have-if that counts for anything.


message 33: by Jeremiah (last edited Dec 13, 2018 11:17AM) (new)

Jeremiah Cunningham | 717 comments First of all, I very rarely pay attention to the politics, view points, or general behavior of the authors I read. In my opinion, works of art stand alone from their creators and should be evaluated based on their merit not on our opinion of the creator. To that point, how many know the politics, view points, or general behavior of the editors of the books? Editors have significant influence, but again I don't think those things matter as art stands on its own.

Second, I believe art is intended to challenge the boundaries of our personal views. One thing that concerns me greatly in our current society is an overwhelming push to consolidate views and define as a culture what is acceptable to believe. I still firmly believe in the ideas of a social contract and that your rights extend to the point that they interfere with mine. I don't like the fact that our society is pushing towards a view that even if differing ideas do no harm it is not acceptable to have them. I am even more concerned because it seems as though we are saying that art can only push in those same directions. That art that pushes against the consolidated views is based in bigotry and hatred. I think we need more art that challenges the common beliefs and sharpens how we view things as a society.

Finally, although I know some do not agree I believe we are headed down the road to a whole new generation of censorship. Take for instance the recent push to take Baby, Its Cold Outside off the airwaves. The fact that shows on TV and Netflix have been cancelled because of an actors behavior. If we continue down the path we are on I believe we will find ourselves in a world of censorship that will have a very destructive impact on the arts.


message 34: by Sushicat (last edited Dec 13, 2018 11:40AM) (new)

Sushicat | 805 comments Joi wrote: "Glad you posted this for more to see over here, Jason. I also was in the Ender's Game discussion.
...
I think this is a subject that has quite a bit of double standard. It's "OK" to read Mein Kampf" to understand or learn, or for educational purposes- but it's "NOT OK" to read Go Set a Watchman because of it's inherit racism? Just two random examples. "


I don't understand you comment on Go Set a Watchman. I do not see where the book is inherently racist, just because a character voices racist opinions. These opinions are part of the conflict the book is all about and fit the time the book is set in.


message 35: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments J.W. wrote: "The fact that shows on TV and Netflix have been cancelled because of an actors behavior. If we continue down the path we are on I believe we will find ourselves in a world of censorship that will have a very destructive impact on the arts. "

I do not think that firing people who have well-founded accusations of sexual harassment and assault against them will lead to a destructive impact on the arts.

I fully support Network TV and Netflix standing up for women and men by saying that this is not acceptable and they will not employ that person any more. Their decision is also driven by image and profit margins, which is driven by consumer preference.

I do agree that other opinions, particularly political opinions, voiced by actors may not necessarily rise to the level of needing to fire them. But, for the most part, the firings I have seen have less to do with the actual viewpoints of the actors, but instead, the distasteful and hurtful manner in which the actor chose to voice them.


message 36: by Joi (last edited Dec 13, 2018 02:09PM) (new)

Joi (missjoious) | 3830 comments Sushicat wrote: "I don't understand you comment on Go Set a Watchman. I do not see where the book is inherently racist, just because a character voices racist opinions. "

I guess I should a clarified "a character's inherit racism" instead of "it's". I agree- just because a character is racist, does not mean the author is. But I do recall a lot of hubbub when this came out surrounding it's racism, and people boycotting the book because of it. Maybe this was just in the somewhat conservative town near mine, maybe it was wider spread- I'm not sure. I haven't read it personally. Some readers can make this differentiation, others cannot- or choose not to. This is similar to reading books with unlikeable characters. Some can't see past their unlikability, and don't like the book because of this- other's see character's unliblikity as a plot point, and leave it at that.

One thing I think we should think about too is on this topic- I think we (as Goodreads users, and readers who read more than the average person)- probably know more, research more, and have a better knowledge base for authors histories in general. I think most readers of The Mists of Avalon probably aren't even aware of the controversy surrounding the author. Unless readers are seeking out author information, how would they even know?


message 37: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9068 comments I recently described a hopefully polite to-do over the ridiculous (in my opinion) pushback on Baby It’s Cold Outside, in my Winter Palace Buddy Read thread. I too worry what our world is coming to, when our biggest problems appear to be cartoons and a beautiful 1940’s duet. We have many other larger issues to contend with. Thanks for backing me up on that. It’s all about people making individual choices and discussing with their kids what they are seeing, hearing, and reading. But not to glibly impose restrictions on others. Think about Freedom of speech and freedom of religion! You are singing my tune, and I appreciate it.


message 38: by Jeremiah (new)

Jeremiah Cunningham | 717 comments Nicole R wrote: "J.W. wrote: "The fact that shows on TV and Netflix have been cancelled because of an actors behavior. If we continue down the path we are on I believe we will find ourselves in a world of censorshi..."

Nicole -- Please don't misunderstand my point. I fully agree that there are situations in which the persons behavior is egregious enough that firing the actor or terminating a contract is appropriate. However, in the less egregious situations who defines what the appropriate behavior is? I think if we look back through history we can find any number of artists, writers, actors, etc who exhibit behaviors that were well outside the norm. My concern is the seeming desire from some for a sterilization of the arts from certain behaviors outside the norm. I cannot say that I always agree with the things I watch, read, or see but that doesn't mean I don't value their ability to challenge the way we interpret our present world.


message 39: by Theresa (new)

Theresa | 7822 comments Amy wrote: "I recently described a hopefully polite to-do over the ridiculous (in my opinion) pushback on Baby It’s Cold Outside, in my Winter Palace Buddy Read thread. I too worry what our world is coming to,..."

Actually that song is a microcosm of what concerns me about publishing and how books are recommended in general. The entire objection and initial banning of the song came out of a place of zero research and knowledge. Sure, there can be performances of it that make it offensive, but first look where and how the song originated: it was a little number Frank Loesser whipped up to sing in a duet with his wife so that guests would get the message that the evening was over and go home after a winter party! He eventually sold it to MGM who used it, in a scene during wintertime, in 'Neptune's Daughter' with Esther Williams, it won an Academy Award and became a hit and a classic. At some point, it was conscripted into the Christmas season, although there's nothing about Christmas in it. Now, someone is attempting to make it something else. Only time will tell if that effort succeeds.

I fear the same thing is happening with books and reading. There were 2 levels of uproar over Go Set a Watchman - one was a legitimate concern that Harper Lee did not actually agree to its publication, that due to Alzheimer's or some other diminished mental capacity she did not have the capacity to agree as claimed. I personally believe there is some legitimacy to that concern. The other was that it shows an Atticus Finch diametrically opposite in racial views from the beloved character in To Kill a Mockingbird. My personal opinion is that most people were upset that the book went in a totally unexpected direction and a beloved character was tarnished. I've got the book in my TBR and at some point will read it and come to my own conclusions about Atticus and his racism or lack thereof. But that should not have led to banning and outrage and boycotts.

To NicoleR's point - yes it is important to spend your dollar in ways that are meaningful to you and supportive as you have defined. But isn't it equally important to read things for yourself that may be racist or whatever, and make your own judgment?

Let's take something less obviously problematic - and being a bit of a devil's advocate. Many consider those cheesy romances full of steamy sex we both read as being demeaning to women and little short of porn, continuing to perpetuate stereotypes that keep women in submissive, second class roles. While the authors may or may not share those viewpoints, and even if they did, I'd still buy and read them. By doing so, aren't we perpetuating a genre that mostly reaffirms that women's goal is marriage and a man to take care of them? Aren't they often extremely sexist? Personally, I do not support that role, and in my legal practice, often counsel women on how to establish equal standing with lenders and in real estate transactions in the face of both overt and hidden sexism. But I love my cheesy romances, and I could care less if the publisher has a sexist formula that has to be met.

I'm weak, what can I say.


message 40: by Jason (new)

Jason Oliver | 2088 comments Though Go Set A Watchman was originally marketed as a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird, it is an orignal draft of what eventually became To Kill a Mocking Bird. This knowledge helped me enjoy thr book more. Thought I'd just throw this out.


message 41: by Nicole R (new)

Nicole R (drnicoler) | 7784 comments I do not think you should censor anything for it’s content (so long as it is legal) but I do have the choice to read what I want for whatever purposes I want. And vice versa.

I totally agree with people who thing romances can perpetrate a negative stereotype. And if someone doesn’t want to read then then I support that. I am not going to browbeat someone into reading something they don’t want just as I don’t feel as I have to defend my reading choice to read them.

I read plenty of varying topics and viewpoints. And there is definitely value in reading about controversial topics that are well researched and well written. I think that is the only way to expand our knowledge.

But, would I read a contemporary book that comes out tomorrow about racism written by David Duke? Absolutely not. Will I ever read a book written by Bill Cosby? Absolutely not (sorry, Cindy!) Those people 100% have the right to publish books and others can certainly read them. But I will not because those authors have beliefs and have done things that I oppose down to my very core. I will not support them by supporting their books.

Would I read a history of the KKK featuring David Duke written by a biographer whose goal is to tell a piece of history even though it is ugly? Yes. Would I read a book about the crimes Bill Cosby committed written by a biographer? Probably not because sexual assault is something I tend to avoid, but I would be open to it.

I can read about any number of things without supporting a specific author behind them if I do not agree with them.

Others do not have to draw a line in the sand as I have, that is everyone’s individual decision. Not every author is as cut and dried as the two examples I gave and there are shades of gray, but it is one way that I make my voice heard.


message 42: by LibraryCin (new)

LibraryCin | 8827 comments Nicole R wrote: "Will I ever read a book written by Bill Cosby? Absolutely not (sorry, Cindy!) Those people 100% have the right to publish books and others can certainly read them. But I will not because those authors have beliefs and have done things that I oppose down to my very core. I will not support them by supporting their books. ..."

Oh, this was published way before everything came out and I've had the book a very long time, as well. I think it was Mom and Dad's to start with. So, it's not something I went out and got after.


message 43: by Booknblues (new)

Booknblues | 6509 comments I am pretty in line with Nicole R. view on letting my money talk. I don't always know an author's view but if I find it repellent I won't support them.

As forGo Set a Watchman, I read it and as Jason says it was written before To Kill a Mockingbird and To Kill a Mockingbird was developed because of it. In many ways, I see it as a more honest book. Finch believed in Justice, but he was also a racist. Since Harper Lee was writing a pretty autobiographical novel, I think it is fair to say that he was. Go Set a Watchman is not nearly as readable as and is a much weaker book than To Kill a Mockingbird.

I would not however say that Go Set a Watchman is a racist book, because really that is not what this it is about.

Certainly Theresa has a valid point about the publishing of Go Set a Watchman, taking advantage of a woman with Alzheimer's.


message 44: by Amy (new)

Amy | 9068 comments And Theresa has great points about Baby Its Cold Outside, which some of you know I have been furious about the ridiculous opposition to that.

Look - no one should read or purchase anything they don't want to. I myself stay away from certain kinds of toxic talk I don't wish to engage in. But I think the points everyone is making is that we have to be careful of a few things. The context in which things are written, and the reflection of a time. We need to be thoughtful about not condoning censorship, and/or the inability to hear another point of view. And we have to be careful where we spend our money.

Sometimes I am cynical (yes even me ms. positive), and I have wonderings about what kinds of effects we can make. I recycle, even if I worry about whether it makes a difference. But veganism - (which i admit can make me mad. Some of these folks are pushy and simply cannot accept it, if you do not wish to become vegan. No need to get nasty, in my opinion. Discretion over transparency is a lost art and value.) So, one premise of the vegan movement, is that their efforts can tumble the meat and dairy industry. That these products will not be in demand. i am cynical that the vegans will tumble this industry economically. That the world is going to convert. Even if the movement grows in power, its economically stable. there is a lot of new industry is gluten free. seriously there is. But does anyone see gluten losing stock and money? Nope. So while it may be personal not to be giving someone your dollar, or vote, they are not often feeling the loss. Its for us and our ethic, and the message is often lost on the other. I've never seen anyone economically tumbled or ravaged by our ethics. Then again, Ivanka went out of business. So in that case it worked..... Enough said, its late... See... I have a cynical side sometimes too. Not just flowers and daisies.....


message 45: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments I think I agree with most of you -
I would naturally not move towards current books who I disrespect or loath their author but have no problem with old books that have content in them that would have been acceptable st the time.

I will read dickens and his cohorts even if there’s the odd antisematicly describes Jewish character, or very stereotypical women
I probably not read an old book if the whole point was women hating or racist. But if it was just laced into the story I will accept it as part of the past

People in Israel boycott Wagner’s operas (Theresa reminded me of that) - mainly because Nazis used to put the music on speaker in camps and the connotations of Great Germany. But Wagner himself died well before that, and I can’t see why to boycott his music. Barenboim sometimes conducts some shorter pieces when in Tel Aviv but there’s always demonstrations


message 46: by Idit (new)

Idit | 1028 comments I heard somewhere that The Handmaid’s Tale was written in reaction to the progressive feminism of the 70s (or 80s?).
These days people feel that it is feminist in book that warns of man and conservative taking the power from women, but I vaguely remember her saying that she was worried that feminists tell all women how they should be - and actually the feminists were the baddies

It flipped the book for me and make me look at her differently


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